Amending the Espionage Act to Nail WikiLeaks

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 2 2010 5:18 PM

Amending the Espionage Act to Nail WikiLeaks

Joe Lieberman, Scott Brown, and John Ensign have introduced the SHIELD Act to try and do that, but it doesn't look like they can.

The SHIELD Act (Securing Human Intelligence and Enforcing Lawful Dissemination) amends Title 18 Section 798, a section of law more commonly referred to as the Espionage Act, to extend the legal protections that already exist for communications intelligence and cryptography to HUMINT.

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Here's the code . Right now, the information protected is "any method of secret writing and any mechanical or electrical device or method used for the purpose of disguising or concealing the contents, significance, or meanings of communications." One of the problems for the people who want to nail WikiLeaks is that the information being leaked, while embarrassing, hasn't been highly classified. It's been secret, or marked "NOFORN," but it's not classified.

And here's the legislation:

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.